Archives for June 2014

Stained Teeth

Stained or discoloured teeth can add years to your appearance.

MouthSurprisingly, some of the foods that stain your teeth are extremely good for your health. 

Even short-term exposure of the tooth enamel to some foods can cause discolouration. Knowing which foods can possibly stain your teeth and learning how to minimize risks can be of great help in your quest to look your youngest and to keep a bright and shiny smile.

Why does food discolour your teeth? 

There are basically three factors that contribute to food-related tooth discoloration:

Chromogens – Intensely pigmented molecules contained in foods and beverages that tend to latch on to tooth enamel.

Acidity – Highly acidic foods and drinks erode and soften the tooth enamel and contribute to tooth staining by facilitating the latching of chromogens. These are usually fizzy or sour foods and drinks.

Tannins – A group of phenol compounds found in some plants, tannins are known to enhance the ability of chromogens to attach to the tooth enamel.

As a general rule: the more intense the color of a food or drink, the higher the chance that it stains the teeth. The staining effect is further increased by acidity or the presence of tannins.

Top foods and drinks that stain teeth:

Wine: Due to its content of chromogens and tannins, red wine is known for its smile wrecking effect. A fact that might come as a surprise is that white wine too can promote teeth staining. A handy tip to those that suffer from red wine stains between their teeth, the stain is sticking to plaque so give them a good brush and thorough floss between your teeth before you go out and you won’t be plagued by this problem anymore.

Tea and Coffee: Watch out for the black tea and coffee! Both are notorious staining agents as they are more aggressive than herbal tea, green or white tea. The staining potential of black tea and coffee is given by its richness in tannins.

Cola: This drink preferred by many is rich in chromogens and like all fizzy drinks (even the diet ones) is acidic too, which makes its staining potential really strong.

Sports drinks: Due to their high acidity, sports drinks may soften tooth enamel, thus making teeth prone to staining.

Berries: Intensely colored fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, pomegranates, etc…

Sweets: Many of the hard lollies, chewing gum, ice blocks, etc. contain staining coloring agents.

How to avoid tooth staining:

Rule number one that applies in all fields of life is of course, moderation in consumption. Additional advice usually given by dentists is to:

• Use a straw when drinking potentially staining drinks

• Don’t brush immediately after eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages – your enamel will be temporarily softer and more easily abraded so instead swish with water or a pH neutral mouthwash and brush at least 30 minutes later

• Chew sugarless chewing gum after eating or drinking

• Avoid regular use of whitening toothpastes. These tend to be much more abrasive than normal toothpastes and over time will thin the brighter enamel layer making your teeth appear darker

• avoid habits like smoking

By recognising the power of prevention and by applying these simple rules every time you eat or drink something that could stain your teeth, you not only prolong the life of your healthy smile, but also keep a younger look. Daily brushing and flossing as well as being good for oral health, will help to lessen the staining effects. Your dentist and hygienist can remove stubborn stains and provide you with customized solutions to manage discolouration or improve the overall colour of your teeth.

Jeremy Bywater Dentist Takapuna & Central Auckland. Ph: 4861605.

Tired of Headaches?

images-1When your bite is healthy, it’s physiologically sound and the top jaw is aligned with your bottom jaw. This means that your bite is in an optimal position, the muscles are calm and relaxed and your jaw functions comfortably. 

A number of issues can affect the alignment of your jaw, from losing teeth to having teeth wear down unevenly. 

Imagine having to always wear a shoe with a stone in it. You would eventually learn to manage walking and even running but it would throw your hips and spine out of alignment resulting in all manner of flow on affects.

Similarly, when your jaw is out of alignment, commonly called TMD Disorder, a variety of painful, bothersome symptoms can result, including:

• Headaches and migraines

• Worn, chipped or cracked teeth

• Broken dental restorations

• Pain around jaw joints

• Pain in teeth that seems to migrate

• Neck, shoulder and back pain

• Facial pain

• Clicking or grating sounds in the jaw joints

• Limited movement or locking jaw

• Numbness in the fi ngers and arms

• Congestion or stiffness of the ears

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a chronic disease affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

It may take years to develop. People who suffer from TMD have a structural imbalance in their jaw-to-skull relationship often caused by a bad bite, stress, arthritis, facial trauma or whiplash.

Because many conditions can cause similar symptoms to TMD, your dentist will conduct a careful patient history and physical examination to determine the cause of your symptoms. There are a range of treatment options depending on the situation from basic care to more involved and complex solutions.

Basic Care:

• moist heat or cold packs with guided stretching exercises

• eat soft foods

• certain drugs to reduce infl ammation or reduce stress

• avoiding extreme jaw movements

• good posture

More Complex Care:

• Neuromuscular dentistry is one of the most innovative divisions of modern dentistry. Using the relaxed position of the head and neck muscles, the jaw is guided into an optimal physiological position. Once this new position has been established then a range of options can be used to keep it in the new balanced position. This is one of my favourite areas of dentistry as the results in improving patient’s symptoms is often dramatic.

• Often full time customised splints or night gaurds may be used. This is a simple approach which we find alleviates a great many people experiencing.

• Sometimes there is no option but surgery.

Should you be one of the many people suffering some of the above symptoms, it may be there is a dental based solution that may not only reduce pain, but prevent ongoing broken fillings, worn and chipped teeth. We have often found this to lead to a great improvement in the quality of people’s lives.

Please feel free to contact us at Bywater Dental in Takapuna if you have any enquiries and would like to discuss your situation at a time convenient to you on 09 4861605.

Dry Horrors

dry mouth dentist north shore

This issue we’ll address another common area people come in with quite often… dry mouth.

Not just a result of too much partying the night before, when it happens frequently we need to take note.

Dry mouth can be more than just an inconvenience, it can also be the sign of major health problems.

 

Common Symptoms of Dry Mouth: 

• Frequent thirst

• A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth

• A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue

• A dry, red, raw tongue

• Problems speaking or difficulty tasting, chewing, and swallowing

• Bad breath

 

Common Causes of Dry Mouth: 

• Dehydration

• Anxiousness or nervousness

• Depression

• Stress

• Blockage of the salivary glands

• Side effects from certain medications

• Symptoms of certain medical conditions

• The natural aging process

 

Dangers of Dry Mouth: 

Gum Disease – When your mouth is dry, it creates ideal conditions for the bacteria in the mouth to thrive. This bacterial infection of the gums can lead to gum disease and other major dental problems if left untreated.

Tooth Decay/Dental Erosion – A dry mouth can result with more rapid tooth decay and can also cause tooth erosion. Tooth erosion happens when the pH in the mouth is too acidic, resulting in damage and weakening of the tooth structure.

Serious Health Problems – Dry mouth can also be the sign of serious health issues. A blockage of the salivary glands may be the sign of a tumour or abnormal growth. Certain cancers and oral health conditions can also cause dry mouth to occur.

 

Treating Dry Mouth itself: 

To increase the amount of moisture in the mouth, hydration with water is a must, though there are also artificial saliva options that can be helpful as well, such as chewing sugar-free gum.

Without saliva, gum disease is more likely to occur, requiring your dentist or hygienist to thoroughly clean and de-scale the teeth. In cases where tooth erosion occurs, dental restorations can be used to fix damaged teeth. If a patient loses teeth as a result of any of these dental problems, it’s not uncommon for dental implants to be used as well.

It’s important that the root cause of dry mouth is addressed, such as the systemic disease or the oral health condition associated with it. Should you notice persistent dry mouth, it’s a good idea to speak with your general practitioner or make an appointment with a dentist who can identify the exact cause of the problem.

Phone the friendly team at The Dental Experts in Takapuna today on 09-4861605 and we’ll be happy to answer any queries you may have.